Obesity Prevention: 5 Key Targets

The HPRC works with communities, community agencies, state and local government, and other partners to develop, implement, and evaluate methodologies and interventions to improve nutrition and physical activity and reduce overweight and chronic disease risk among children, youth, and their families and to reduce and eliminate disparities in these outcomes. The following 5 issues are key targets we’ve identified for obesity prevention:

Sugary Drinks

The largest source of added sugar in kids’ diets is sugary drinks! Drinking too many high-sugar drinks increases the risk for overweight in kids and adults and can cause dental cavities. This section contains lessons to teach kids the importance of limiting their consumption; tips for creating environments that are free of sugary drinks; sample materials for communicating these messages to parents and families; and other information and tools.

boy and water fountain thumbnail (boy_drinking_from_fountain_104x104.jpg)Water Access and Consumption

Water is the best beverage option for kids and adults. It has zero calories, and tap water is free! This section explains why water is a healthier choice than other beverages, such as soda, juice, and sports and energy drinks. It also provides ideas for making clean, cold, free water more accessible in environments like schools and afterschool programs, and it offers tips for making water more tasty and fun for kids.

girl w/ chips and tv thumbnail (girl_eating_chips_and_watching_tv_104x104.jpg)Screen Time & Marketing to Kids

Screen time – time spent watching TV or playing computer or video games –  could be spent exercising, reading, doing homework, or spending time with friends and family, instead. TV and internet sites also have tons of advertisements, especially for junk food. Kids who often watch more than four hours of TV per day are more likely to be overweight.  Look at the materials in the section for tips on turning off the screen and fun ideas for what you can do to replace screen time activities.

boy and father on bikes thumbnail (boy_and_father_on_bikes_104x104.jpg)Physical Activity

Each child should get at least one hour of physical activity everyday. Regular physical activity helps kids stay focused in and out of school and protects both kids and adults from developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and osteoporosis. This section includes fun ideas to get kids moving and policy examples and resources for improving physical activity environments in schools, afterschool programs, and communities.

healthy shopping bag thumbnail (healthy_groceries_104x104.jpg)Healthy Eating

The best advice for healthy eating is more simple than most people think. Some important aspects include: eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains (like whole wheat, oats, brown rice, and popcorn); avoid foods with trans fats; drink more water; and limit intake of sugary drinks. This section includes lessons to teach kids about healthy eating, tips for healthy snacks and meals, and policy examples and resources for improving access to healthy foods in different environments.